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Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS)

Date Published: 

The PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) program is a research-based violence prevention program that gives children in grades K

Target Audience: 

Preschool through elementary school children (grades K

Special Populations/Available Adaptations: 

PATHS has been translated into Dutch, French, and Hebrew. It is used in a variety of schools for normal, deaf, and other special needs children in The Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Wales, Norway, Canada, Australia, and Israel.

Program Components: 

PATHS is taught by a classroom teacher three times a week for at least 20 minutes. The program content becomes more complex as the students grow older. The Kindergarten program begins by emphasizing respect for self and others, motor control over behaviors, and giving compliments. Later stages of the program work toward solving social problems in groups and using self-control though cognition.

The curriculum consists of an instructional manual, six volumes of lessons, pictures and photographs, and additional materials. A research book is available, as well as materials to involve parents. PATHS covers five conceptual domains, including self-control, emotional understanding, positive self-esteem, relationships, and interpersonal problem-solving skills.

The curriculum consists of three major units:

  • Readiness and Self-Control Unit: 12 lessons that focus on readiness skills and developing basic self-control
  • Feelings and Relationships Unit: 56 lessons that focus on teaching emotional and interpersonal understanding
  • Interpersonal Cognitive Problem-Solving Unit: 33 lessons that cover 11 formal steps to interpersonal problem solving
Training and Technical Assistance: 

Training for K

Contact Information: 

Mark T. Greenberg, PhD

For information on training and technical assistance, please contact:
PATHS Training, LLC
Carole A. Kusch

Program and Training Costs: 


  • Complete PATHS Program (Basic Kit and Turtle Unit) $799
  • PATHS Basic Kit (Grades 1-6) $699
  • PATHS Turtle Unit (Kindergarten) $209
  • Preschool Program $399


A training workshop for up to 30 people costs $3,000, plus transportation, hotel stay, and per diem for the trainer. Additional costs may include space rental and teacher in-service pay. Technical assistance is available over the phone, by email, or with on-site visits by a PATHS staff member. Technical assistance is offered at $50 per hour over the phone or via on-site visits for $1,500 per day plus travel expenses.

Evaluation Results: 

Four clinical trials conducted during the last 15 years have shown:

  • 32% reduction in teachers' reports of aggressive student behavior
  • 36% increase in teachers' reports of student self-control
  • 68% increase in students' vocabulary for emotions
  • 20% increase in students' cognitive skills test scores
Evaluation Components: 

The developer recommends the following evaluation components:

  • Student Evaluation for teacher assessment of students
Agency/Institution Recognition: 
  • Blueprints Model Program
  • Center for Mental Health Services- Greenberg et al: Effective Program
  • Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Model Program
  • Department of Education- Safe Schools: Promising Program
  • Communities That Care- Developmental Research and Programs: Effective Program
  • Mihalic & Aultman-Bettridge (2004): Exemplary Program
  • Sherman et al. (1997): Effective Program
  • Surgeon General's Report (2001): Promising 2
  • Title V (OJJDP): Exemplary Program

Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: II. Classroom effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(5), 648-657.

Gewertz, C. (2003). Hand in hand. Education Week, 23(1), 38-42.

Greenberg, M. T. (1997). Improving peer relations and reducing aggressive behavior: the classroom level effects of the PATHS curriculum. Paper presented at SRCD, Washington, DC.

Greenberg, M. T., Kusche, C. A., & Cook, E. T. (1995). Promoting emotional competence in school-aged children: The effects of the PATHS curriculum. Development & Psychopathology, 7(1), 117-136.

Greenberg, M.T., Kusche, C.A., Cook, E.T., & Quamma, J.P. (1995). Promoting emotional competence in school-aged deaf children: The effects of the PATHS curriculum. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 117